This book series focuses on G. Norman Lippert's fan homage. From what is intended to be a five part series, this review only references the beginning two books as I have not yet had time to delve further. A follow up review may touch in those, of which I believe are similar quality.
Quick backstory: To my understanding based on varied sources, the series was written by Lippert, purely to please himself, wife, and children. Lippert found very quickly that he has a knack for this sort of thing. His ability to string words together in a pleasing manner and formulate detailed and original plot-lines is pretty stellar.
Releasing his fanfic in official eBook format, an instant following has organically grown. A couple cease and desist processes later, he has been officially unofficially allowed to continue his work, provided he makes no money from Rowling's IP.
**Several derivative works exist which he can make cash off of that do not infringe on any element of Rowling's IP and if you read this series, you should absolutely show your thanks and appreciation by also enjoying his other books. Doing so would allow him to feed his family whilst feeding your imagination.
Voila. A new story line exists.
The James Potter books pick up immediately where the last Rowling book ends. HP son James Potter climbs aboard the Hogwarts Express and heads to his first school year.
James Potter is dropped into a world where his father is a hero. Where his entire family history is tied to location based mythology and he is expected to achieve great things due to his genetic tie to his father. James however is a bit more clumsy. He cannot ride a broom and is terrible at Quiddich. Teachers who remember his father (now Head Auror) call him by his fathers name, or immediately treat him different. His peers mock him as a relative to celebrity. JP has to find his own voice. He resents his fathers shadow, while unconsciously wishing he could live up to his image.
The plot of the initial book revolves around a tri-story-line.
First: Hogwarts is visited by several ambassadors from an American sister school system. The American ambassadors approach magic in a manner which is confusing and contrary to to Hogwarts and old world fashion. With this Ambassadorship comes several branches. Included is an American student, enrolled in Hogwarts while his father works at the Ministry as an american representative.
Second: Older year Slytherins have started an inquisition. Their goal is to disprove that Harry Potter is a good man, to show that he was a bully and in many ways a terrorist and a liar.
Third: James and his friends are drawn into the Forbidden forest by circumstance of being idiotic preteen kids and doing what idiotic preteen kids do. They find themselves confronted by an ominous and magically protected living island. As all kids will do, they poke it with a stick until it reacts and violently shows you why you should have not poked it in the first place. Queue The Hall if Elders Crossing"...
All in all, it was a great book and led me to reading the second which was equally enjoyable.
Before we get too far into this, please note that these are LONG books. The first is an eBook equiv of 550 pages. So if you are expecting watery pages of exposition, recognize that official fevered effort went into these.
The novels have parallels to the original in design. To start, they are formulaic. Kids get into trouble, they gather bits and pieces of a plot Hardy Boys style, ultimately finding that they overthought everything, as kids do. Even the titles follow the proven pattern, James Potter and the insert ominous image here. There are even some blatantly lifted elements which are applied in a wholly original fashion, I suppose this cannot be entirely avoided. As a derivative work, it is bound to swipe an idea or two, but it is also a series about kids 20ish years after the a war that their families were involved in and that their media applies virtual levels of sainthood against.
Advanced readers may also find references to the original works a bit overwhelming at first. The author is still world building for his new characters and capitalizing on the existing text. This is temporary. Looking at the first novel alone, you can see striation marks where his skill or confidence took a leap.
Highly suggested original plots in a detailed world that the author is blatantly comfortable writing in.
The books are free in eBook format, remember to check out Lippert's other paid works.
James Potter and the Hall of Elders' Crossing
James Potter and the Curse of the Gatekeeper
JP and the Vault of Destinies
JP and the Morrigan Web
JP and the Crimson Thread (currently unreleased)
** Not to be confused with alt fan series about James Potter Sr (HP's father) and the Marauders **